Smothered Chicken is a classic Southern comfort food that is perfect for a hearty meal. This dish is typically made with chicken thighs, which are browned and then simmered in a rich gravy until tender and flavorful. Today, I will be sharing with you my recipe for Smothered Chicken which is sure to become a favorite in your household.
I first discovered Smothered Chicken when I moved to the South for college. I was intrigued by the name and the rich aroma that filled the air as it cooked. I decided to try making it myself and soon found that it was surprisingly easy to prepare. As I stirred the gravy and watched the chicken simmer, I knew I had discovered a new favorite dish. Now, it's a staple in my household and a go-to meal for when I want something comforting and satisfying.
- 4 chicken thighs
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 onion, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
- 1 cup chicken broth
- ½ cup heavy cream
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Chopped fresh parsley for garnish
How to make it:
- Season the chicken thighs with salt and pepper.
- Heat the olive oil and butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
- Add the chicken thighs to the skillet and brown them on both sides. Remove them from the skillet and set aside.
- Add the onion and garlic to the skillet and cook until the onion is translucent.
- Sprinkle the flour over the onion and garlic, and stir to combine.
- Add the chicken broth to the skillet and stir until the mixture thickens.
- Add the heavy cream to the skillet and stir until well combined.
- Return the chicken thighs to the skillet, spooning the gravy over the top.
- Reduce the heat to low and cover the skillet.
- Simmer for 30-35 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through and the gravy is thick and flavorful.
- Garnish with chopped fresh parsley before serving.
How to store it:
If you have leftovers, store Smothered Chicken in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
How to refrigerate it:
You can make Smothered Chicken ahead of time and refrigerate it before serving. Just cover it with plastic wrap or transfer it to an airtight container and store it in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours.
How to reheat:
To reheat Smothered Chicken, place it in a skillet over low heat and stir occasionally until heated through. Alternatively, you can microwave it in a microwave-safe dish for 1-2 minutes or until heated through.
Tips to make it more delicious:
- Use bone-in chicken thighs for a more flavorful dish.
- Add chopped bacon or diced ham to the gravy for extra richness.
- Serve Smothered Chicken over rice or with a side of mashed potatoes for a complete meal.
Can I use chicken breasts instead of thighs?
Yes, you can use chicken breasts instead of thighs. Just adjust the cooking time accordingly, as they will cook faster than thighs.
Can I use a different type of broth?
Yes, you can use a different type of broth if you prefer. Vegetable broth or beef broth would also work well in this recipe, depending on your preference.
Can I make this recipe ahead of time?
Yes, you can make this recipe ahead of time and store it in the refrigerator until you're ready to serve it.
Can I freeze Smothered Chicken?
Yes, you can freeze Smothered Chicken for up to 3 months. Just let it cool completely before transferring it to an airtight container or freezer bag. Thaw it in the refrigerator overnight before reheating.
Can I add vegetables to this dish?
Yes, you can add vegetables like sliced mushrooms, diced bell peppers, or chopped celery to the skillet when cooking the onions and garlic for extra flavor and nutrition.
Can I use a different type of cream?
Yes, you can use a different type of cream if you prefer. Half and half or milk can be used in place of heavy cream, but the gravy won't be as rich and creamy.
Can I use a different type of seasoning?
Yes, you can adjust the seasoning to your liking by adding herbs like thyme, rosemary, or sage. Cajun seasoning or paprika can also be added for a little kick.
Smothered Chicken is a delicious and comforting dish that is perfect for any occasion. With its tender chicken and rich gravy, it is sure to become a favorite in your household as well. Try making it for your next family dinner or potluck and watch as it disappears in no time!
- 5 strips thick cut bacon
- 2 large boneless skinless chicken breasts
- ½ cup Vegetable oil, for frying.
- ½ cup all-purpose flour
- ¼ cup breadcrumbs, plain or Italian
- 1 teaspoon seasoned salt
- ¾ teaspoon black pepper
- 4 Tablespoons Butter
- 4 Flour
- 2.5 Tablespoons cups chicken broth, consider low sodium
- 1 beef bouillon cube, or 1 teaspoon beef better than bouillon
- ⅓ cup half and half, (half milk, half cream)
- 1 teaspoon low sodium soy sauce, can sub Worcestershire sauce
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- ¼ teaspoon dried thyme
- ¼ teaspoon dried rosemary
- ¼ teaspoon ground sage
- 2-3 drops Kitchen Bouquet, optional
- Prework: Add chicken dredge ingredients to a large plate and toss to combine. Set aside. Measure out gravy ingredients prior to beginning.
- Cook the Bacon: Fry bacon over medium-low heat until crispy on both sides. Remove from pan and pour grease into a heat-safe bowl. Reserve 2-4 Tablespoons of clear bacon drippings. Wipe any black residue from the pan if needed.
- Slice & Pound the Chicken: While the bacon cooks, slice each chicken breast in half lengthwise to create 2 thinner slices. Place saran wrap over them and use a meat tenderizer to pound them to about ¾ inches thick. This gives them a little more texture for the flour dredge to hold on to. They’ll plump up more when cooked.
- Coat the Chicken: Wipe the chicken dry and coat generously in the flour mixture, get in every nook and cranny.
- Cook the Chicken: Add the reserved bacon drippings to the clean pan and enough vegetable oil to cover the chicken by half. Heat over medium-high heat. Once heated and glistening, add the chicken. Fry 2 at a time for 4-5 minutes per side, until they have a nice golden sear. Set aside on a plate. Adjust heat down slightly and back up throughout cooking as needed.
- Drain the oil: Remove the oil from the pot and use a paper towel to remove any black spots from the pan, but leave any brown remnants. This is called ‘fond’ and will give the gravy a nice flavor.
- Make the Roux: Melt the butter over medium heat and use a silicone spatula to “clean” the bottom of the pan. Sprinkle the flour gradually, whisking continuously, until a paste forms.
- Add the Broth and Half and Half: Add the liquid in small increments, whisking constantly. It will thicken up in between each splash of liquid. If you add it all at once, you’ll “break” the roux and it won’t be thick.
- Add remaining gravy ingredients: Slowly add the beef bouillon, soy sauce, and seasonings.
- Bring to a gentle boil, then reduce to a simmer. Add a few drops of kitchen bouquet if a darker color is desired.
- Add the chicken back to the pan along with any juice from the plate.
- Chop up the bacon and add it to the top of the chicken.
- Cover partially and cook over low heat for 10-15 minutes. The internal temperature of the chicken should reach 165 degrees prior to serving.
- Garnish with parsley and serve with mashed potatoes.
To Control the Consistency of the Gravy:
- Add the chicken broth/half and half to the roux slowly and in small increments. This is the key to keeping the consistency nice and thick.
- For thicker gravy: Let it continue to simmer, uncovered.
- For thinner gravy: Add a splash of half and half, milk, or broth.
Other Pro Tips:
- Ensure the oil is hot enough prior to adding the chicken to ensure the breading stays on.
- Create texture on the surface of the chicken with a meat tenderizer to give the breading more to cling on to, this will give it more of a fried chicken look. Work the breading into every nook and cranny.
- Chicken thighs or pork chops can be used in this recipe instead of chicken breasts.
- To control the sodium in this recipe, you can use unsalted butter and/or reduced sodium broth. Additional salt can always be added if desired. (You can also omit the bacon, but it does add a nice flavor and crunch!)